I usually take three two-mile walks each day. Each walk is on a different route, but they’re all in or near the Warm Springs historic district of Boise, Idaho (established in the mid-to-late 1800s), which means I get to see some cool stuff, including relics of days gone by.
Back in the day, it was customary for a horse-drawn carriage to pull up parallel to a perfectly spaced hitching post and set of steps. Once the reins were secured in the iron loop on the hitching post, the driver would open the carriage door, and the occupants would descend the steps.
“Hitch your wagon to a star”—the famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson—means to aim sky-high and follow your dreams, with the implication that you can achieve anything!
Boise, Idaho has a fantastic downtown area with a plethora of incredible signage. One of my favorites is this one for the Idaho Blueprint and Supply Co. I love that it’s three-dimensional, that it doesn’t lay flat against the building.
Every time I pass this sign I think of my blueprint, my DNA. The dictionary defines DNA as follows:
“DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is like a blueprint of biological guidelines that a living organism must follow to exist and remain functional.”
“We’ve been led to believe that the goal of equality is to somehow make differences disappear yet, in reality, it is to be profoundly aware of them and to recognize them as beautiful and valuable and necessary. The virtue is not in ignoring our various distinctions, but in celebrating them; not in pretending as though they don’t exist, but in believing that their existence makes us a better version of humanity as we live together in community.” —JOHN PAVLOVITZ, from his book “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community”
Have you ever had your DNA tested to discover the breakdown of your ancestry?
I’m incredibly grateful. Not only the part of the globe we live on—the Pacific Northwest in the United States—but for our specific town, Boise, Idaho. It’s quite possibly one of the friendliest places on earth.
The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common origin: the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.” The Association for Humanistic Psychology defines gratitude as “Orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world.”
University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons’ research revealed that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that literally boosts the immune system—a clear PHYSICAL benefit.
Dr. Alex Wood, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, said that “Gratitude is an integral part of well-being”—a distinct benefit to our MENTAL and EMOTIONAL faculties.
Gratitude helps to open the heart, the seat of compassion. It helps us to see the good in our experience. It enhances trust and helps us to forgive—a benefit to our SPIRITUAL aspect.
How do you weave gratitude into the tapestry of your life?
I was excited to receive a link from my friend Lyndajo to an article that lists The Best Library In Every State. When I read that the designation in Idaho is the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, we made a point of visiting it on a trip to that neck of the woods.
“When you absolutely positively have to know, ask a librarian.” —American Library Association
I was delighted to discover that they carry my book, Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.
“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.” –Rita Mae Brown
I was wowed by this set of moose bookends—they’re taller than I am!
“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.” —Libba Bray
October 14th was Indie Author Day. I hope you had the opportunity to attend the festivities at your local library; I had the privilege of speaking at the Boise Public Library that day.
“The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community.” —Paula Poundstone
When was the last time you checked a book out from your library?
We never fail to be awed by the many, beautiful hot air balloons that lift off from Ann Morrison Park over Labor Day weekend at the annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. This year’s event was no exception.
As the air in the balloons gets hotter than the surrounding air, they rise. Walking between the balloons before liftoff, the sound is incredible! In fact, an article in the Idaho Statesman newspaper recommended that attendees leave their dogs at home because the sound—like a herd of fire-breathing dragons—can scare them.
Mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, what is it that lifts you up?
Yesterday, a good portion of the United States had the rare opportunity to experience a solar eclipse. Boise, Idaho wasn’t in the “path of totality” for the moon blotting out 100 percent of the sun, but we peaked just shy of it at seeing 99.5 percent of the sun covered.
And what better place to use nature’s pinhole camera than “The City of Trees.” Len and I used protective eclipse eyewear to view the sun, but we also enjoyed seeing hundreds of tiny crescents covering the driveway. We’d read in the newspaper that:
“A pinhole camera is the most simple image-projection technology there is. You can use a thumbtack to punch a hole in card stock, hold that card under a direct light source, and a tiny, exact image of that light source will be projected on the other side of the hole.”
“Sunlight filtering through the branches of trees will create a field of crescent-shaped light on the sidewalk below it. It’s the pinhole camera effect, multiplied naturally hundreds of time underneath each tree. Each gap in the leaves acts as its own pinhole, so you see an image of the eclipse in each of those gaps.”
Where were you during the eclipse on August 21, 2017?
It’s the time of year in the Pacific Northwest to crank up the heat. Every time I turn the knob on our heating registers, I’m reminded of the Pointer Sisters rendition of Steam Heat. On the City of Boise website you’ll learn:
“Four independent heating districts operate geothermal systems within Boise that serve more than five million square feet of residential, business, and government space. Energy is produced locally and sustainably. Every gallon pumped out is injected back into the system.”
One of those four independent heating districts is historic Warm Springs, a tree-lined avenue that’s home to many of the Victorian-style mansions erected by wealthy miners and businesspeople around the turn of the 20th century. The area gets its name from the natural hot springs that flow from Boise’s fault line.
We live in the carriage house of one of the oldest mansions in the surrounding area (circa 1865). We’re fortunate that our minimalist space enjoys earth-friendly, cost-efficient heat from the hot springs throughout the winter.
I don’t get “steamed” too often, but when I do—it’s not pretty. A few of the large, small, and mid-sized things that get me hot under the collar are mistreatment of people (anything less than respectful), littering, and people who don’t take loving care of their animals.
What chaps your hide, boils your blood, or makes youhot under the collar?